Wednesday, May 29, 2019

It's Tic vs. Tac as the Media Goes Into a Frenzy

Back on December 16, 2017, the New York Times published a now-famous article on about the previously unknown Pentagon UFO study program, as reported by Tom DeLonge and his To The Stars Academy (TTSA), titled "Glowing Auras  and Black Money - The Pentagon's Mysterious U.F.O. Program." It set off a media UFO frenzy that still continues. To show how little TTSA's people understand about what they are doing, the so-called "glowing auras" surrounding the objects represent nothing more than a processing artifact of the infrared image, but TTSa's "experts," as well as those who look up to them, don't know that and think it's mysterious.

Most people didn't notice that Leslie Kean, one of the authors of this piece, is a dedicated UFO promoter who has written a popular UFO book. She is also very gullible, at one point promoting a video of a fly buzzing around as if it were some great proof of high-performance UFOs. (And she still has not admitted that she was fooled by a fly.) Another author, Ralph Blumenthal, has also been a UFO believer for years.

Now the other shoe has dropped. On May 26, the New York Times carried another article by Helene Cooper, Ralph Blumenthal and Leslie Kean - the same three authors as the earlier piece - headlined "Wow, what is that?' Navy Pilots Report Unexplained Flying Objects."
The strange objects, one of them like a spinning top moving against the wind, appeared almost daily from the summer of 2014 to March 2015, high in the skies over the East Coast. Navy pilots reported to their superiors that the objects had no visible engine or infrared exhaust plumes, but that they could reach 30,000 feet and hypersonic speeds.

“These things would be out there all day,” said Lt. Ryan Graves, an F/A-18 Super Hornet pilot who has been with the Navy for 10 years
One seriously wonders why, if unknown objects were supposedly seen "almost daily" for nearly a year, and hung around "all day," we don't have overwhelming video, photographic, and instrumental evidence of them, removing all doubt about their appearance and behavior? In reality, all we see are the same three blurry infrared videos promoted by Tom DeLonge's To The Stars Academy, over and over again. This makes no sense at all. Doesn't the Navy have any cameras?

The so-called "Tic Tac" UFO video, much hyped by "To The Stars," and now by the media.
Not surprisingly, the New York Times story spurred an avalanche of me-too stories in the Washington Post (which proclaimed "UFOs exist and everyone needs to adjust to that fact"), Fox News, and many other media outlets.

Researcher Curt Collins of the Blue Blurry Lines blog notes on Facebook's UFO Updates that
The NYT story is previewing and promoting material from TTSA's show "Unidentified," not making news of its own. The story is getting spread far and wide, but so far just other sites quoting from it, not verifying or reporting anything else.
Exactly - just the sort of story that lazy reporters love, because they don't need to do any investigation of their own. Collins notes that Blumenthal said in a recent interview,
We knew the History Channel had put this series together, and we watched that and give them credit in the piece, and saw what they said in the series and went after them (witnesses) because obviously we weren’t going to take it from the TV; we wanted to conduct our own interview...
Collins also notes that Blumenthal admits they are trying to maintain the illusion of being an independent effort from TTSA:
We really try to keep our distance from To The Stars because we think it helps our credibility to be separate...
But apparently, they are not. The New York Times' reporters are simply repeating Tom DeLonge's "spin," and other journalists in major publications are copying them. Skeptical blogger Jason Colavito explains how "New York Times' UFO Coverage Still Just a Front for To the Stars and History Channel."

People seem to forget that DeLonge describes TTSA as an “independent multi-media entertainment company.” Apparently it is becoming a very successful one indeed.

But underneath all the hype, there are still so many unanswered questions about TTSA's claims, the exact provenance of their videos, and so on. On April 29, reporter George Knapp wrote a story purporting to show that the Pentagon really did release the videos, based on a form provided by Luis Elizondo. But the indefatigable John Greenewald of the Black Vault has shown how that claim, when closely examined, falls apart.
we have no proof of any [official Pentagon] release, let alone what is being touted [the videos] is even the same evidence connected to this DD Form 1910. If we see a blatant disregard for the truth by Mr. Elizondo on display with this DD Form 1910, and we see the same disregard for the truth by To The Stars Academy as they have touted documents proving a public release – how can we believe everything or anything else from the same sources?
 If TTSA expects to be taken seriously by anyone other than credulous reporters of the New York Times and the Washington Post, they will have to do better than this.

As for the so-called Tic Tac video of 2004, the best-known animal in TTSA's menagerie, serious fault lines are starting to appear in the differing accounts of various persons involved. David Fravor, the pilot who was vectored to the supposed location of the Tic Tac UFO but didn't see anything in the air at that location. Looking down, he saw a disturbance in the water, which he presumed was caused by the object that presumably had just been airborna. Of course, it is a big assumption that the two must necessarily be the same.

Fravor spoke at the recent UFO Fest in McMinnville, Oregon (held annually to honor the famous Trent UFO Photos, taken just outside that town). Reporter George Knapp and documentary filmmaker Jeremy Corbell were also on the panel. Fravor  sharply criticized the accounts of certain other people who were involved and have been speaking about the incident. He seemed to be singling out the account of the radar operator, Kevin Day, as being non-factual. He dismissed claims of Air Force personnel coming on board the Nimitz and confiscating evidence as being untrue. Fravor also  referred to Dave Beaty's "Nimitz UFO Encounters" documentary as a "cartoon."  This prompted Knapp to say to Fravor, "I guess you're being diplomatic, but some of the stories and claims that have been made by people, who may have been on those ships, are just bullshit." When people began commenting about these remarkable disagreements, Corbell pulled the video off YouTube.

We have seen this happen before with major UFO cases. What starts out as a tiny acorn of an unexplained sighting or incident gradually becomes a mighty oak tree of misinformation. That process is obviously well underway with the Tic Tac UFO incident.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Travis Walton Saw a Giant Black Triangle UFO, but Apparently Forgot to Mention it.

On May 22, 2019, Tucker Carlson's program on Fox News carried a cute little puff piece about a UFO Festival being held in Pine Bush, New York.

One of the people at the UFO festival was Travis Walton, the famous "UFO abductee" who was allegedly held by the aliens for five days in 1975. When asked by the reporter if he had seen anything since then, Walton replied,
It was February 19, 2014. A giant black triangle came over, stopped right over the top of us. Rotated 90 degrees, and shot off toward the ocean. It was quite amazing because I didn't believe anything that big could actually fly.
Walton does not say where this alleged sighting occurred, or who else was with him. Walton has been on numerous UFO programs and panels since 2014, but has somehow forgotten to mention this sensational,  dramatic sighting.

Travis Walton describes seeing a giant black flying triangle in 2014.

I posted this information in the Facebook group UFO Updates, which contains some of the most knowledgeable and active current UFO researchers. Everyone else seemed to be as surprised to hear this as I was.

Tucker Carlson's commentary stated, "Big news tonight! Finally, after many decades, the Pentagon has officially confirmed what has long been obvious: they are in fact, and have long been in fact, investigating UFO sightings." This represents To The Stars' "spin" on the Pentagon UFO matter, and is a gross exaggeration of the facts, as I explained in the previous entry

Tucker Carlson recyclesa long-debunked photo of a contrail that was supposedly a UFO.
Carlson's commentary was illustrated by the long-debunked photo of a black contrail that is supposed to represent a 'genuine UFO.' Tucker Carlson needs to be more skeptical about claims made by UFOlogists. Nick Pope and other UFO proponents have appeared on his show several times, but he has never interviewed a UFO skeptic.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Did the Navy Just Admit that UFOs are Real?

Well, Tom DeLonge says that they did!

In the past few days there has been quite a storm over the Navy's announced "new guidelines" for reporting unidentified objects. A story by Bryan Bender in Politico on April 23 says,
The U.S. Navy is drafting new guidelines for pilots and other personnel to report encounters with "unidentified aircraft," a significant new step in creating a formal process to collect and analyze the unexplained sightings — and destigmatize them.

The previously unreported move is in response to a series of sightings of unknown, highly advanced aircraft intruding on Navy strike groups and other sensitive military formations and facilities.

Analysis of "Go Fast" IR video from To The Stars Academy
 And our old friend Tom DeLonge is giving full credit for this change to lobbying by his To The Stars Academy. He wrote on his Facebook page on April 23,
This is a DIRECT RESULT of @tothestarsacademy’s quiet efforts coordinating briefings to the Legislative and Executive Branch, working with the Navy and others at the highest levels to help create an architecture for dealing with the reality of UFOs. Chris Mellon, Chairman of the TTSA ADVISORY BOARD, worked for the greater part of the year on this breakthrough National Security Policy—- And yes, this is an admission that these Unidentified Aerial Vehicles are real, and @tothestarsacademy organized this entire effort. Thank you to everyone for believing in us... But, there is much more to come.
And there were many breathless stories gushing on about the supposed significance of this. In one, Thomas Gnau asked in the Dayton Daily News (for which the Air Force's Project Blue Book was a local story),
The U.S. Navy is updating guidelines for pilots who encounter unexplained aerial phenomena or unidentified flying objects — known everywhere as “UFOs.” Can the U.S. Air Force be far behind?
But not everyone was swept up by the excitement. John Greenewald asks in the Black Vault, "What Does That Mean?". He notes that Navy and CIA documents seem to be concerned with "unidentified aircraft," rather than "flying saucers" or UFOs. Greenewald has been scrutinizing statements made by Luis Elizondo and other TTSA officials, and has found them to be hopelessly confused and inconsistent. His candor has apparently made him quite unpopular in certain UFO circles. Of course, those are the people who aren't interested in facts, they want to defend certain irrational beliefs.

We have a sober analysis of the question from Mick West over on the excellent Metabunk:

there's a rush of media stories about this. The problem is they all seem to be conflating two things:

A) The statement from the Navy
B) The spin from TTSA

And then presenting B (the spin) as if it's something official. It's not. All we have that is official is a very reasonable statement about

1) Planned (but undescribed) new guidelines for reporting unauthorized and/or unidentified airspace incursions.
2) Some briefings on the dangers of these incursions by the Navy to some congressmen and/or their staff.

Note the first thing there: "unauthorized airspace incursions." That basically means a plane flies into a region that it should not be in. The Navy Document OPNAVINST 3770.2L calls it a "spill-in". Note in this new press release they say: "the Navy and the USAF take these reports very seriously and investigate each and every report." So clearly the reports they talk about are not considered "career enders" (as some have suggested). These are reports that are already being made, and are being taken seriously, and investigated. All that seems to be happening now is an improvement to the way in which such incursions can be reported.

For better or for worse, we will be hearing a lot more about Tom DeLonge and TTSA in the months to come. The "History" Channel recently announced,

Former Government Officials disclose new information in an effort to change Government Policy about the potential threats UFOs pose to U.S. National Security
We find this information on the TTSA website:
 Now, as a part of HISTORY’s groundbreaking new six-part, one-hour limited series “Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation™,” Elizondo is speaking out for the first time with Tom DeLonge, co-founder and President of To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science and Chris Mellon, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and Intelligence, to expose a series of startling encounters and embark on fascinating new investigations that will urge the public to ask questions and look for answers. From A+E Originals, DeLonge serves as executive producer.

Says DeLonge, “With this show, the real conversation can finally begin. I’m thankful to HISTORY for giving the To The Stars Academy team of world-class scientists, engineers and intelligence experts the opportunity to tell the story in a comprehensive and compelling way.  I think everyone that watches the show will walk away with questions answered and a feeling of, “wow, I get it now.”’
 The first episode is set to run on May 31. Expect to hear nonsense piled high and deep when that happens.